There’s an old saying in the news biz: if it bleeds it leads.
There’s the popular assumption this has to do with the media having a penchant for violence and/or dark, sensational subject matter. While we can’t speak for the large corporate news agencies – the Fox News’ of the world – we can say no community reporter comes to mind who takes delight in writing about tragedy. There is no joy to be had in reading a coroner’s report. And making initial contact with family members who have just lost a loved one is always a distressing experience.
Missing children, people left homeless by fires and even criminal matters that have resulted in the separation of family – no matter how many times one writes about such things, it’s always soul-crushing. Yet this is the news people are most drawn to.
Our most-read story in 2014: RCMP seeking suspect in attempted abduction of 16-year-old girl. Second most-read story: Man shot during targeted home invasion in Malakwa.
As with most papers, obituaries are our biggest draw.
Stories involving criminal matters, search and rescue efforts and pretty much anything with the word “marijuana” in the headline dominate our most-read list.
But our statistics also reveal a desire for change, for inspiration, for hope. The re-opening of the Malakwa mill drew in many readers, as did stories from the recent election. Even our recent story on Brandon Schweitzer taking part in the World’s Toughest Mudder competition made the top 20.
It’s a common complaint that there aren’t enough “good-news” stories in the paper. This is neither by choice nor design. We can only reflect on what’s happening in the community and/or what people are willing to share.
Hopefully 2015 will bring more of those uplifting stories. While they may not attract the same readership, they’re a joy to write and, frankly, it seems we could all use a little more good news.